When I was 23, I was working a part time job, when one day on my break a fire inside my heart was kindled. I wanted to encourage my friends and fellow church ladies. I was well aware that each of us were walking different roads, and many of the women on my text list were much wiser, but I knew we all could benefit from reading scripture. Thus, I began my search for nuggets of truth in my quiet time to send off to be refined by God in the hearts of whomever he chose. To me, it was nothing more than sharing my heart with the women who were dearest to me.
One day, a friend wrote back, “Brittany, have you ever thought about becoming a writer?” I thought to myself, “Ha! I’m terrible at writing!”
Flash forward a couple years. I was studying Romans, and my heart burned to share the amazing things God was showing me. I began sharing my heart through social media in hopes to encourage any woman whose eyes might meet my imperfect post. I wasn’t looking for followers or praise; I simply desired to get the words out of my chest and into the minds and hearts of those God intended–even if it was just one girl.
Around this time, a woman, who has since become a mentor, reached out to me and encouraged me to keep sharing. She reminded me that we can never know how God could be using us in the lives of others.
The Lord used these two women to spur me on in my stewardship of the gift he had given me–a gift I didn’t even recognize. Soon, a growing desire to pursue writing sprung up in my heart. I despised writing in school and yet, here I was, scrambling to scribble thoughts down in between routing invoices at work. Most of the time, I didn’t even know from where the thoughts were coming…but come they did.
A Gifted People
We are a people, gifted in many ways.
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:4-8 ESV)
Each of us have been given gifts by the Lord in order that we would use them to build his kingdom. When pondering these gifts, we must remember that we are not the owners of them, but only stewards. God is the gift Giver. This means we have no claim to any praise or admiration that may come to us as an affect of the gift. He alone is worthy of praise, and anything good found in us is only a reflection of Jesus. (John 15:5; Psalm 16:2).
Although we don’t deserve an ounce of praise for these gifts, it is beneficial for us all to practice looking for and recognizing the gifts we see in other believers. In fact, it would be more helpful to the kingdom if each of us would spend less time taking quizzes and seeking out our own giftedness, and more time searching out and speaking forth the gifts of others.
Here are 3 reasons we should be more intentional to thank others for the gifts God has given them…
1. It Glorifies God
With a biblical understanding regarding God-given gifts, we see why it would glorify him to recognize them in our fellow believer. When we thank someone for these gifts and their willingness to use them for the kingdom of God, the praise belongs to him. If we refuse to honor others for the ways we see God using them, we hush that praise.
Our motive for honoring others is not because of who they are, but instead because of who God is in them. Of course, we’re sinful, and pride is always waiting to grab us, but we shouldn’t let the fear of building up ones ego stop us from thanking God for the gifts he’s given them.
Furthermore, it shows Christ to the world when we push others forward rather than seeking attention, respect and honor for ourselves.
2. It Encourages Others to Continue Using Their Gifts
Though we don’t want to build others up in and of themselves, it is biblical to build each other up in Christ. One way of doing so is pointing out the gifts we see in those around us.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)
If a person in the Body of Christ has a desire to serve the other members in a certain way and yet lacks encouragement from others to do so, do you think she will step out to pursue it? Probably not. Or, she will do so in fear that she’s fooling herself rather than in confidence that God will equip her if he’s called her to it.
But if others have come alongside her and encouraged her in her gifts, pointing out strengths and room for growth, she will spend less time worrying about whether she’s doing the right thing and more time on stewarding that gift for God’s glory.
Furthermore, many Christians don’t know what their gifts are. Rather than finding out online from a spiritual gift test, don’t you think it would be better if the people around them pointed it out for them? Then, the Body would be able to “work properly” and “grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
3. It Helps Us Fight Against Envy
Is there anything women struggle with more than envy? I’m not sure there is.
Another benefit of seeking to encourage others in the gifts God has given them is that when we make it a goal to celebrate the gifts and success of others, we become less threatened by them. We recognize we are all on the same team, holding within our hearts the same goal: to make Christ known in all the earth.
What a beautiful way to be set free from envy! The gifts God has given to others are not a threat to us when we view them correctly, with a focus on furthering God’s kingdom.
In 2018, I’ve made it a goal to celebrate others. I want to look for big and little ways to encourage the women around me in the gifts I see in them. I long to be an encourager, a kingdom builder, and a gift-seer. Will you join me in tossing comparison out the window and taking hold of the freedom of lifting our sisters up, in hopes to encourage them and bring God the glory he deserves?
If you see a friend encouraging others well, tell her.
If you recognize the generosity of someone, thank them.
When God uses a person to speak truth to your heart, allow them to see how he is using them by relaying that information to them.
Ladies, we are prone to tear other women down. Let us strive to be women who build each other up in Christ instead.
Hi Brittany…i struggle not so much with women, but newly retired husband. We are struggling to set up our new pathways with, and around, all this time we have together. You might think we would know how after nigh on 30 years, but no….we are like old bumper cars! I REALLY appreciate your thoughts on encouragement and showing appreciation! I shall try to criticize less, and stop complaining, replacing these words with kinder, gentler, loving ones…your remarks today hit me right in my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. May you have special blessings in your upcoming days!
How awesome is THAT, Brittany? God is using your writing to pour into hearts of women even decades older than you. God truly has gifted you in this area, and I am so thankful He surrounded you with women to encourage you in your writing! Now if only we could become BFFs in real life ?
What an honorable goal to strive for. I am well aware that encouragement is not naturally my strong suit, but I also have been so touched by the few women I’ve met who are such amazing examples of encouragers… they have become my motivation! Thanks for this post today, a reminder to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:11!